Sharks

Sharks re-sign defenseman Dylan DeMelo

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USATSI

Sharks re-sign defenseman Dylan DeMelo

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks have re-signed defenseman Dylan DeMelo to a two-year, $1.8 million deal.

The 25-year old had a career-best 20 points — all on assists — in a career-high 63 games. He also had an assist in 10 playoff games.

“Dylan proved last season that he’s ready to be a full time NHL player and really blossomed towards the end of the year and into the playoffs,” general manager Doug Wilson said in a release announcing the signing Saturday. “His skating ability and strong play in both ends make him a valuable part of our blue line.”

DeMelo, selected by San Jose in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL Draft, has totaled three goals and 29 assists in 133 games over parts of three seasons with the Sharks.

Everything you need to know about Sharks center Chris Tierney filing for arbitration

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USATSI

Everything you need to know about Sharks center Chris Tierney filing for arbitration

Sharks center Chris Tierney, a restricted free agent, filed for salary arbitration on Thursday, the NHLPA announced. San Jose can continue to negotiate a contract with a 24-year-old prior to an arbitration hearing, which would take place at some point between July 20 and August 4. 

An arbitration award would be issued no later than August 6, or 48 hours after the hearing. Such a contract can last no longer than two years, and the Sharks would decide the length of the deal, since San Jose did not opt for arbitration. 

The Sharks issued Tierney a qualifying offer worth $771,500 on June 25, meaning San Jose retained his exclusive negotiating rights and would have been allowed to match any offer sheet. Since Tierney filed for arbitration, he is no longer eligible to be signed to an offer sheet, and his qualifying offer will expire on July 15 at 2 p.m. PT.  

Last summer, Tierney signed his qualifying offer, a one-year deal worth $735,000. He responded with a career-high 40 points (17 goals and 23 assists), 29 of which came at even strength, tying for fifth and seventh on the team, respectively. He also played in all 82 games, and logged a career-high 16:00 per game.

Should Tierney and the Sharks make it to arbitration, he would become the first San Jose player to actually have a hearing. Previously, three Sharks filed for arbitration: Center Marcel Goc in 2008, winger T.J. Galiardi in 2012, and defenseman Jason Demers in 2014. San Jose settled with each player prior to a hearing.

Fresh off signing new contracts, Hertl and Thornton think they have more to give

Fresh off signing new contracts, Hertl and Thornton think they have more to give

Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton signed new contracts with the Sharks on Monday, albeit under much different circumstances. 

Hertl, who said he got engaged earlier this offseason, continued his "big summer" with a four-year deal that's reportedly worth $5.625 million annually. Thornton, 39, married, and coming off of his second knee surgery in as many seasons, returned to San Jose on a one-year deal, reportedly worth $5 million. Yet, in separate conference calls with reporters, both players were talking about the same thing.

Showing they have much more to give. 

"I think I took another step [in the playoffs], but I'm not done," Hertl told reporters. "I think I can still be a little bit better player and show I can score more goals and be even better for [the] team."

The 24-year-old is now one of six Sharks signed past 2020, and is coming off of the best season of his five-year career. He played 79 games for just the third time in his career, tied his career-high of 46 points (including a career-high 22 goals), and once again posted solid possession numbers.

Hertl added another six goals in the postseason, and was one of the best Sharks against the Anaheim Ducks in the first round and the Vegas Golden Knights in the second. 268 players played at least 50, five-on-five minutes in the postseason, and only nine scored primary points at a higher rate than the Czech forward (2.49 points per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. Nobody generated expected goals at a higher rate at even strength in the playoffs, either.

"I just think his best hockey's ahead of him," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said. "He truly wants to be a great player, and I think watching him in the playoffs this year, I think everybody saw him take that step that not only we expected, but he expects it of himself. He plays in all situations. He plays in all situations. He's a tough matchup, and you throw that in there with his great work ethic and his love for the game...He took a step this year to show what a horse and what a dominant player he can be, and we believe in that."

Wilson believes in Thornton, too. He said his expectations for Thornton are different than those of any other player, and repeatedly praised his work ethic. 

Thornton is also expecting a lot of himself. The veteran center said he feels strong -- in both surgically repaired knees -- and wants to continue to be a key contributor. 

"I'm way further along because [when I injured my left knee two years ago,] that was just a summer of rehab and then, boom, I'm back on the ice," Thornton said. "And I felt great, to be honest with you...I've been rehabbing [my right knee] since February. So, it feels great and feels strong as of this moment. I've still got another two months to get it stronger, which is a good feeling."

The lead time should help. Thornton scored 36 points in 47 games last year, but had 26 in his last 28 before injuring his right knee against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 7. His 22.9 percent shooting percentage during that time was unsustainable (Thornton's a career 14 percent shooter), but Joe Pavelski's 8.7 percent over said span was due for some regression, too, as his hot finish to the season showed. So, it's reasonable that a now-healthy Thornton can still produce offensively.

Who Thornton plays with next season is ultimately up to head coach Peter DeBoer, but both he and Wilson spoke about the possibility of him playing alongside recently re-signed winger Evander Kane. If Hertl starts the season on the wing again, perhaps another reunion is in order. 

The Sharks are going to need the belief Hertl and Thornton have in themselves to result in on-ice production, especially after missing out on Toronto-bound John Tavares in free agency. With both players now officially back in the fold, San Jose's betting that it will.